Traffic fatalities in Missouri have dropped dramatically since 2005, the Missouri State Highway Patrol reported.

According to preliminary statistics, Missouri had 741 traffic fatalities in 2013, a 41 percent decrease from the 1,257 fatalities recorded in 2005.

That’s the lowest number since 683 people died on Missouri roads in 1947.

Each year for the past seven years, except for a slight increase in 2012, the number of traffic deaths has dropped, the patrol said.

This is only the second time — 2011 was the first — since 1949 that Missouri has experienced less than 800 traffic fatalities.

Not only have traffic deaths decreased, but the total number of traffic crashes has decreased as well, according to the patrol. While the total crash information for 2013 is not available at this point, from 2005 to 2012 the total of all Missouri traffic crashes was down 21 percent.

Of the 741 people killed in 2013 traffic crashes, 63 percent were not wearing safety belts.

Missouri officials have placed an emphasis on reducing traffic fatalities in recent years including installing median cable barriers along certain highways.